For this most recent trip to Hong Kong, I decided to try a little different approach to tackling some of my food research updates. Rather than take to the blogs of my favorite food blogger friends, I relied solely on their Instagram accounts to compile my “must try” foods. One theme was tackling a solid list of soft serve ice cream joints, a major craze in parts of Asia these days. One of the first, and oh so Instagramable ones, is Sweet Monster Popcorn Ice Cream from Korea.
I’ve seen many Hong Kong foodies posting IGs and blog posts about Sweet Monster’s instant popularity as soon as the store opened. It’s a pretty simple, but delicious, concept — soft serve ice cream and popcorn! You can also get just regular ice cream, but it’s the combination of soft serve and popcorn that makes Sweet Monster such a hit.
Sweet Monster’s Ice Cream Base
One of the key elements to good soft serve ice cream is the quality of the milk base. Sweet Monster makes their soft serve fresh in-house every day, using more than 75% milk content as the main ingredient. The ice cream is rich and has just the right amount of sweetness.
Sweet Monster Popcorn
The most iconic popcorn option at Sweet Monster is the Cheese and Caramel Monster. It’s a mountainous soft serve ice cream base with a mixture of cheesey and caramel popcorn crusted along the mountaintop. Other options include flavors like chocolate, milk, or strawberry.
The Monster Popcorn is made with non-GMO corn and popped by air in Korea. They also emphatically ensure no trans fat, saturated fat, or artificial colors are used either. You can buy Monster Popcorn in tubs as well.
Other Sweet Monster Menu Items
If ice cream and popcorn aren’t enough, Sweet Monster offers a variety of other menu items as well. They are known for their cakes, which look absolutely delicious. Tiramasu or Cheesecake bases are topped with a variety of delectable toppings like blueberries or caramel walnut on the cheesecake, or banana Nutella or pistachio almond on the tiramasu. They even offers a menu item of soft serve ice cream with a piece of cake on the side!
Other menu items at Sweet Monster include Monster Coffee, hot chocolate, or various cold fruit-ade drinks.
Sweet Monster Character Icons
Not surprisingly, Sweet Monster has some adorable character mascots. The cartoon critters include various “mons” themed to each of their menu items. My favorites? A tie between BLUEmon, CHOCOmon, and POPmon.
The Sweet Monster tag line is “American Festival Sweets.” These are items you’d typically expect to find at American festivals, carnivals, and theme parks.
Sweet Monster Locations
If you’re traveling in Korea, you’ll undoubtedly come across a number of Sweet Monster locations. If you’re only passing through Seoul on a layover, there is even a location at the Incheon Airport.
Outside of South Korea, your options are still pretty limited. The Hong Kong branch is located in Mongkok at the Langham Place Mall. It’s a bit tricky to find as it’s tucked under an escalator and we walked by it twice, as at first glance, it looked like a Ben & Jerry’s logo from a distance! It’s only been open since August, 2015, so it’s still quite popular. We lucked out and went on a rainy day when most people were in line for Dreyer’s in the mall for some reason so we had no wait whatsoever, but I hear that may not always be the case.
China has a location in Chengdu, Singapore has one in Plaza Singapura, and there are two in Thailand I believe. The most interesting new locations to note that still say coming soon are in the UAE and Saudi Arabia! Want to own your own Sweet Monster? They are looking for franchisees in Vietnam, Beijing, Malaysia, Indonesia, Shanghai, and even Taiwan. Maybe that’s my way to move back to Taiwan!
Our Verdict of Sweet Monster Ice Cream
We opted to order only the Cheese & Caramel Monster to split as one ice cream can definitely feed two people (and we needed to save room for hitting another ice cream place in the same day to complete my list.) LOL!
You can definitely taste the milk in the ice cream, and it’s not overly sweet. I prefer the natural flavor of the milk in a soft serve ice cream, not mounds of sugar. And, you don’t want an ice cream that overpowers the popcorn either. The cheese and caramel popcorn were a nice blend of sweet and savory, and I will readily admit, I could’ve easily eaten one on my own. My only regret was not buying some of the popcorn to take away!
One thing to note is the Sweet Monster ice cream creations are one size only, another good reason to share between two people. And, as trendy ice cream concoctions go, the price is really reasonable — 39HKD, which is around $5 US. Other menu items vary and cost more, like the shakes, cakes, etc.
I can’t speak to other locations, but be prepared to stand and eat your ice cream or take your cake/drink to go. Because it’s literally like a fast food stand under the escalator, you won’t find seats or a restaurant seating area. Most people stand off to the side by the cute BLUEmon character to eat their ice cream.
I’d like to try some of their drinks and cakes on a future visit for sure. I also have my eye on that cake and ice cream combo!
This post is the first in a series of upcoming sweet “Sinful Sunday” posts outlining some of the best ice cream joints in both Hong Kong and Japan!
Have you been to any of the Sweet Monster locations? What’s your favorite and most recommended menu item?
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